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Ramp Sports - Groundhog / Beaver 2011

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Title:  Review: 2011 Ramp Sports Groundhog / Beaver

 

Product:

All Mountain, High Performance Ski

 

Length/size Tested: 

131-100-119mm r=22m@179cm

 

Environment of Conditions:


Small eastern ski area. Powder (shin deep), cut-up powder, packed powder and hardpack surfaces, very cold, dry snow. No really steep-and-deep or big-mountain terrain. Demo day.

 

Summary (inc. Strengths & Weaknesses):


Very solid all-mountain ski with a bias toward higher speeds and slightly rearward edging pressure. Capable of high-performance turns in a wide variety of terrain and surfaces, demonstrating a preference for GS-style turns on groomed surfaces. Strong ski with above-average grip and damp behavior on firm surfaces for about $573 delivered to your door.

 

Tester Info:

Age:  51

Height/Weight: 5'11" - 180 lbs

Average days on snow: 11-25 days on snow this year

Years Skiing: 15+ 

 

Aggressiveness: Aggressive

 

my review format below:

 


Ramp Sports Groundhog 179cm


Manufacturer Info:

Ramp Sports
2750 Rasmussen Rd. Suite 103
Park City, Utah, 84098
1-888-406-0567
http://www.rampsports.com


Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):

$875 ($699 "street price" on the website)
Sales in 2011 are direct-to-consumer only, no dealers
Applying the "insider" deal code (free if you sign up at the website) applies 18.5% discount for final price of $573. Free shipping.

Usage Class:

All-Mountain High Performance

Your Rating (with comments): (1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")

8+ for powder, 8 on-piste for its width. (see test results for details)
Note: This limited test did not test the ski in "big mountain" terrain, but in Eastern trees with fresh, shin-deep powder, cut-up powder, packed powder and hardpack groomers (no crud, no crust, no windblown).

Summary:

Very solid all-mountain ski with a bias toward higher speeds and slightly rearward edging pressure. Capable of high-performance turns in a wide variety of terrain and surfaces, demonstrating a preference for GS-style turns on groomed surfaces. Strong ski with above-average grip and damp behavior on firm surfaces for about $573 delivered to your door.

Technical Ski Data:

Wood-core, fiberglass, full-wrap edge ski construction. No metal layers.  The "50-50 camber" design has medium-plus early rise and reverse sidecut in the tip, 200 rise in a strong tail. Targeted at 50% powder, 50% groomers.


Techsheets for Groundhog / Beaver:
http://www.rampsports.com/store/media/specs/Ramp_Tech_Data_Groundhog.pdf
http://www.rampsports.com/store/media/specs/Ramp_Tech_Data_Beaver.pdf

Pre-Skiing Impression:

Very good quality construction and finish.  Nicely saturated topsheet colors.  Progressive flex and good torsional strength without feeling like a "pro-stock" ski.  Fairly lightweight for its size. Thin vertical profile.  Good rebound response and vibration dampening.  Overall impression is of a strong ski.  I wish the groundhog was on the front portion of the skii so I could see it all the time.  Appears to be the same geometry and construction as the Beaver model for women.

Mfr. Comment:

Groundhog Description:
You crave the one-ski quiver. Wherever you go, whatever the conditions, your ski needs to be dialed. One run you’re skiing powder in the trees or in the sidecountry, the next run you’re making high-speed GS turns on a steep hard groomer. With the Groundhog you can do both with ease. And one more thing, no speed limit. Speed Range: 6-10

Beaver Description
The hard-charging girl who wants one ski to do it all rocks the Beaver. Last run you found untracked in your tree stash, next run you’re going to air them out on a groomer. A girl has a right to change her mind. Any snow surface, any speed and you’re dialed! June, you can’t be too hard on this Beaver. Speed Range:  6-10

Features-The 100mm waist is the perfect platform for every snow surface. The 50%-50% Camber makes this ski catch-free and effortless with the ability to hook up and carve high-speed turns. The Razor Cut sidecut gives this wide ski incredible edge grip on the hardest snow.

Test Conditions:

Powder (shin deep), cut-up powder, packed powder and hardpack surfaces, very cold, dry snow. No really steep-and-deep or big-mountain terrain.

Test Results:

I skied the Groundhog immediately after skiing the larger Peacepipe (146-115-134 ), and on the same terrain.  Ramp's "50-50 camber" design for this ski gives it a more traditional feel than the "powder rocker" design of the Peacepipe, making it more of a charger-type ski since it feels stronger underfoot and more grippy and directional.  It is easy to change directions, even in tight trees, and feels longer in 179cm than the same length Peacepipe.  Bumps and undulations in terrain are fed back to the driver in a good way, and the Groundhog does not deflect from its path.  Intermediates will want to demo the Groundhog in two sizes to make sure it's won't feel too long for them.  The Groundhog is a strong ski, and being 100mm underfoot, likes to be driven.  While it does not feel like a "pro" version of a ski in this category, it is not a fluffy fat ski.  It's aimed at high-performance skiing and rewards a strong technical skier with a secure and stable ride across variable terrain.  This pair I tested was in excellent condition, recently ground, tuned and waxed, but I had the distinct feeling that when I went straight, rolled the skis up on edge and applied pressure, I ended up going straight, on edge, under pressure.  The Groundhog did not automatically hook-up and start turning as I expected.  After speaking with Mike at Ramp Sports about this feeling, we both decided it was probably due to the state of detuning of the rockered portion of the forebody since no one had ever reported this behavior from the Groundhog before and I felt the same issue with the slightly narrower Woodpecker (see that review).  The new generation of rockered-cambered skis are definitely sensitive to forebody tuning when rolled-up on edge, and I'm confident some tuning could bring the carving behavior back to the ski's potential.  People should know the Groundhog has a serious ability to hold a very strong edge on groomed surfaces.  The strongest grip comes from the arch of the foot to the tail, just like the narrower Woodpecker.  The "Razor edge" design has a relatively straight section of sidecut from the arch of the foot area back to the rear binding tail mount section, then resumes a more curvy sidecut to finish the last portion of the ski. This appears to definitely provide a strong gripping behavior when you pressure it, more than most other brands of skis with similar dimensions. You can ride the Groundhog at "pull-your-ticket" speeds with no fear of washout or wobble, while retaining an easy-to-drift personality when needed. Think of it as an all-mountain high-speed tool for people who prefer soft snow to groomed surfaces. If you buy bindings with your skis, Ramp extends the warranty to two years.  New brand for 2011.

Analogies: (this ski is like...)

High performance touring wagon you can drive nearly anywhere at moderate-to-high speeds.

Things You Would Change About This Ski:

I would experiment with tuning to get the on-edge performance more dialed in.

Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":

Strong all-mountain ski for enthusiastic skiers.

Advice To People Considering This Ski:

Try a pair on your most frequented terrain to see if it handles the way you want.

Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences:

5' 11", 180 lbs. Expert groomed-surface carver, "old-style" race inspired, "foot steerer" with fairly sensitive edging feel. Loves to hold long arcs with lots of pressure on the downhill ski (you know the type),  but also loves the feel of both skis on-edge leaving tiny railroad track edge tracks.  Loves powder when it's not tracked out. 10 year coach for youth race team in New England (bulletproof is the norm).

 

Tip rocker profile of Ramp Groundhog.

Vertical profile of Ramp Groundhog

From left to right on this side of the rack:
Frenzy (no graphics) - 2 pairs
Hula
Chicadee - 2 pairs
Woodecker - 2 pairs
Beaver
Groundhog
Peacepipe
post #2 of 5

Nice to see some reviews form Ramp. They were sort of a mystery to me.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Ramp Sports was started by Michael "Kilch" Kilchenstein (long-time industry veteran with Rossignol and Roxy brands) and Victor Waryas. The new company is a startup, but started by people with a long history in the ski business and ski development.  Mike told me they had gone through a boatload of prototypes and tons of testing by lots of people before they settled on the designs they are bringing to market for their launch this season. 

post #4 of 5

Has anybody else skied these? Anyone? They're in PC for gosh sakes. Ramp is offering a pretty big discount these days so this looks appealing. Similar design to the Blizzard one or Rossi 6th Slicer?

post #5 of 5

 Tested  the groundhog at  the back bowls at Vail during the second last week of skiing this year. They carve well on the groomers and blast the fresh powder.(found a hidden stash to test the skis) Because I travel from Ontario to colorado and utah several times per season I was interested in finding a ski that would work well in groomers and powder, Had to have the Groundhogs and bought them at the demo tent .  Went to Alta and Snowbird in May was  blessed with 12-18" of fresh pow... This trip assured me that I had made the correct decision the Groundhogs were a blast in the steep and deep of Alta.... Skied 48 days last year . Tried several pairs of skis from various manufacturers during the  2011 ski season . Highly reccomend these skis excellent value.

 

Patrick

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